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Dress for Success

If you’re a senior like me then you are probably in the midst of looking, applying and/or interviewing for jobs post graduation, you know, when we have to enter the real world (a little scary, no?). Well, we want to make the best possible first impression when interviewing so we have to look good. Now, I’m one for fashionable suits, shoes and blouses, but when interviewing for a company, unless you are completely certain they’re super modern and creative, stick to conservative attire (at least until you get the vibe of the company). Here are some pieces every collegiette™ should have for interviews.

1. Dark is the Best Option
While I would love to stroll into a company with a trendy, magazine worthy suit and fabulous shoes, the suit is dark and conservative. For women, wearing a skirt suit instead of a pantsuit is recommended as some companies are more conservative and require or recommend the women to wear skirts. However, if you wear a conservative pantsuit, it is most likely not going to hinder you. As for the color, stick with black for the first interview, as it is the most professional, though a charcoal or medium gray would be fine as well. Stay away from bright colors and prints. Stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and J. Crew have great options as well as your typical department stores like Macy’s or Dillard’s.

2. Plain Jane
As hard as it is for me to say it, stay clear of ruffles and bows for the first interview. If you know me, you know that I love feminine blouses that have bows or ruffles or lace on them, but a plain, crisp, white blouse is your best bet. If you’re well endowed, starchy button down shirts are not the most flattering or comfortable so look for those that have more stretch in the bust.

3. Keep it Simple
I love accessories – fabulous shoes, costume jewelry, etc. – but for an interview, keep the accessorizing to a minimum. Pearls, and simple silver or gold necklaces, simple earrings, and maybe an important bracelet or ring are fine, but make sure they’re not too flashy. Shoes should be moderate. Black, mid to low level plain pumps are a good pick. Stay at or below 3 inches. If you’re very tall, plain black flats are good as well. You’re best accessories are your briefcase or portfolio and nicely manicured nails (try a light, neutral color or a French manicure).

4. Bottom Line: Look Professional
Make sure your hair is pulled back into a bun or ponytail and your makeup is simple. According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. Your simple makeup combined with your conservative suit and shoes will tell your interviewer that you are polished and professional, an attribute that is very important to most companies.

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